The political unit of ABC News, which produces The Note, reports the following nitty-gritty details on the Kerry veepstakes search. The folks at the Note have compiled clues into the secretive process, largely based on tentative schedules and campaign logistics, but the only rule in predicting the outcome of Kerry's search is to know that anything can happen. The choice could be obvious, as in an Edwards or Gephardt, or the Kerry team could be successfully shielding a leading candidate from media scrutiny of the search, somehow. With the convention now less than a month away, we'll know soon enough.
From the Note: "Seeking clues about timing, we have obtained some information about the Kerry campaign's tentative schedule in early July. As you know, the plans call for the Senator to take a three-day bus tour from Cloquet, Minnesota through Wisconsin to Iowa, from July 2 through the 4th. The 5th is tbd."
"On the 6th, Kerry has an AME convention in Indianapolis and speaks to the NEA convention in Washington, D.C. He hosts a major fundraiser in New York City on July 8. Senior Democrats say that the campaign has blocked off two weeks after July 6 and plans to announce the pick within that period of time. Various Democrats are hoping the Kerry campaign announces closer to the convention, in part to drive eyeballs to the convention. A senior campaign aide tells ABC's Dan Harris that an announcement could come as soon as July 1 or as late as July 25. Contingency plans for major events are underway in several key battleground states and elsewhere; one can be put together within 48 hours."
"Kerry aide Ann M. Castangnetti has assembled a staff of more than 15 who are ready to serve the vice presidential candidate when he or she comes aboard. The Kerry campaign has spoken with several senior Democrats about serving as the vice presidential team's interim chief of staff, but no one has yet been hired. Another team is preparing rebuttals to opposition research; they've been given a list of name to work with, including Gephardt, Vilsack, Edwards, Graham, and Biden. There are no surprises."
"Senator John Edwards is on a family vacation outside Washington through July 4. Gov. Tom Vilsack is in Iowa the whole week. No national travel planned until July 17-19. He will will meet Senator Kerry this week and spend much of July 3 with him. Gov. Bill Richardson is in Santa Fe all week. Senator Evan Bayh: well, we'd like to tell you, but his staff refuses to release his whereabouts."
"Rep. Dick Gephardt is in Chicago next Tuesday for the Rainbow-Push coalition forum (he may run into Senator Kerry). He has no public events this week. He'll be in DC. Senator Joseph Biden is in Wilmington, Delaware through the recess. Ret. Gen. Wes Clark has several fundraisers early this week; today, he raises dough for Erskine Bowles and Charlie Rangel in New York. He's in Texas on the 29th and Missouri on the 30th. Senator Bob Graham: He's traveling outside the country Saturday thru Friday, then celebrating the 4th in South Florida. His fellow Senator, Bill Nelson, is in Florida."